Because skin ulcers, which may encompass pressure ulcers, arterial ulcers, venous ulcers and diabetic ulcers, have a tendency to be slow-healing and therefore chronic conditions, their management can be costly in terms of both direct and indirect costs. The direct cost of changing multiple bandages becomes compounded when non-healing skin ulcers develop other clinical sequellae, most notably, infection.
Below is the conventional staging method for skin ulcers:
- Stage I ulcers are indicated by damaged friable surface skin with considerable hidden cell death caused by continuous pressure damage usually from immobilization in a single position. Identification of signs of pain and early indications of visible damage is a significant event in that it alerts caregivers of the need for interventions to prevent more serious damage.
- Stage II ulcers present as partial thickness wounds, which may heal with early intervention by regeneration under advanced wound care techniques.
- Stage III ulcers are usually full-thickness pressure sores. These are often difficult to classify due to the presence of eschar that obscures visualization of the wound bed. The presence of eschar does indicate a full thickness wound but the eschar must be removed (debrided) before classification can be established.
Early Stage III or Stage IV pressure ulcers may superficially resemble Stage I ulcers. A wound initially classified as Stage I may, therefore subsequently appear to progress to higher stages as the already damaged deeper tissues slough off or as auto-debridement occurs with moist wound healing therapy.
- Stage IV pressure ulcers are characterized by full thickness skin loss with extensive destruction, tissue necrosis, or damage to muscle, bone, or supporting structures (e.g., tendon, joint capsule). Undermining of healthy surrounding skin and sinus tracts may also be associated with Stage IV pressure ulcers.
Because of their prevalence and associated costs, the development of approaches to the management of products to facilitate the more rapid healing of skin ulcers has found favor in the market through a variety of dressings and other products.
Skin ulcers are the subject of a MedMarket segment report, "Pressure, Venous, Arterial and Diabetic Ulcers: Dressings and Other Products and Companies".
See the outline of coverage, below:
This report may be purchased directly for download in PDF format from the "Add to Cart" link, below.